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Devotional - week of February 20, 2005


SURPRISING QUOTATION

“… the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”  Acts 13:47

The Jews in Antioch of Pisidia at first responded favorably to the message of salvation through Jesus. However, when the Gentiles began to show an interest, the Jews were seized with jealousy and began opposing Paul and Barnabas and their message.

Paul and Barnabas then turned to the Gentiles. In support of this decision, they quoted Isaiah 42:6 as it is recorded in Acts 13:47.

It is surprising that Paul and Barnabas claimed that the Old Testament made reference to them. It is even more surprising that they said they were commanded to fulfill this prophecy about Jesus. Why would they make this surprising statement?

One answer is found in Acts 1:1 where Luke writes that his Book of Luke was about what Jesus “began both to do and teach.” The implication is that the spread of the Gospel as recorded in Acts is a record of what Jesus continued to do and to teach. Obviously, Paul and Barnabas believed that Jesus was in them and was working and teaching through them.

All believers who are experiencing Jesus as their lives should believe that many prophecies about Jesus are being fulfilled through them.

Consider one other prophecy about Jesus.

A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench … Isaiah 42:3

This prophecy reveals the gentle spirit with which Jesus dealt with the broken and fragile. We can understand this to mean that even severe words of Jesus were not spoken with an attitude of abuse but with a tender attitude of redemption.

Through the lives of those living out the new-creation life, Jesus relates to others in a gentle and loving way—even when severe words must be spoken.